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stoveHeading into the weekend …

  • I don’t want to it to become a running joke in the sense that I’m not looking to make fun of Jon Heyman, but … it’s kind of becoming a running joke: got a big-time free agent? Connect him to the Cubs via Heyman. This time it’s Jacoby Ellsbury, and Heyman says the Cubs are a candidate to sign him (together with the Mariners, Cardinals, Reds, Astros, and Dodgers (huh?)). The article, you’ll note, isn’t a specific Ellsbury rumor piece, so it’s not as if Heyman was trolling for clicks. On the other hand, Heyman was likely just listing off some possibilities from the hip.
  • Patrick Mooney is sticking to his belief that the Cubs will try to add one – and only one – impact piece this offseason. Ellsbury, among others, is mentioned as a possibility.
  • The Indians are reportedly trying to figure out what they’re going to do about the surprisingly resurgent Ubaldo Jimenez. Paul Hoynes says there’s no chance they offer him a multiyear deal, what with how much Tim Lincecum got, and he says there’s a chance they might not even make him a qualifying offer. Given that Lincecum deal (two years, $35 million and a no-trade clause), I can’t fathom the Indians not giving Jimenez a qualifying offer (about $14 million for one year), and I can’t fathom Jimenez declining. Indeed, if salaries are about to blow up as much as it seems like they might, I’m expecting far more fringy types to get qualifying offers than in the past. Jimenez turns 30 next year, and reinvented himself in 2013 after a drop in velocity forced him to make some changes. He looked like he was absolutely done in 2011 and 2012, but there are reasons to believe that the 2013 uptick wasn’t just a fluke. He might be a name worth considering when free agency rolls around, depending on how his situation with the Indians plays out.
  • The Red Sox traded for outfielder Alex Castellanos, the Dodgers discard I recently suggested the Cubs might take a look at. Since it was an actual trade, it’s possible Castellanos never made it to waivers and the Cubs never had a chance to get him (absent beating the Red Sox’s offer). In any case, a smart organization wanted him, so I feel relatively justified in my hunch-work.
  • Tim Dierkes predicts a six-year, $100 million contract for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Who’s still in at that price? I would have balked a couple weeks ago, but now I wonder if that’s simply the new, and increasing normal.
  • Another Korean pitcher could be hitting the market soon (via the posting process): Seung-Hwan Oh, a dominant reliever. The Cubs have already been attached to Korean Suk-Min Yoon, and I’m sure they’ll consider just about anyone. The interesting thing on lower-impact players like Oh who go through the posting process: although it seems odd to have to pay a posting price, the contract then tends to be lower than it would be on an open market, since yours is the only team that can negotiate with the player. Yoon, unlike Oh, is a true free agent.
  • THEOlogical

    Why can’t his last name be Ah? Then we can sign Ah and Choo this off season? It is about to be winter time.

  • Big Daddy

    Little Johnny wore a Cubs hat to school. The teacher asked him why he was a Cubs fan. He replied that his parents were Cubs fans. She told him that was a terrible reason. She asked him what if his parents were hookers and drug dealers. He laughed and said then I would be a White Sox fan.

    • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

      Very funny. This joke made my wife laugh and she has the sense of humor of a rock.

    • Funn Dave

      That’s awesome.

  • Stinky Pete

    “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I got more holds than Seung-Hwan Oh”

    • SteveDillard

      RIP MCA

      • MichiganGoat

        Yeah the icons of my youth are gone one by one

  • Edwin

    I’d be curious to see if the Lincecum contract really does signal a change in the market. It still seems like such an overpay to me.

    • CubFan Paul

      It’s a gigantic upswing in the market if so (average starters get $10M-$13M AAV). I think and hope the Giants simply overpaid to fill a short term need with a known commodity.

      • YourResidentJag

        Me too.

        • Jay

          Choo for 100 freaking million??? Are you kidding me? There is no way anybody pays that, not even in this market. Do these guys just smoke weed and then make this shit up off the top of their heads?

          • Norm

            Pence just got $90M with no other bidders and he’s a more valuable offensive player.

          • YourResidentJag

            Why are you responding to me? I don’t want Choo.

            • DarthHater

              I want Choo
              I want Choo so bad
              I want Choo-oo-oo-oo-oo,
              I want Choo so ba-a-a-a-d
              It’s driving me mad, it’s driving me mad.

              • YourResidentJag

                Jungle love. It’s driving me mad, it’s making me crazy??

  • Edwin

    Maybe the Cubs can trade for Jonny Gomes, since according to Tim McCarver, he’s one of those rare players who somehow helps his team win in the postseason, even though his numbers are lousy.

    Seriously, the forced narrative about Jonny Gomes is amazingly weak, and what makes it better is that the two times I’ve heard Tim and Joe bring it up, Gomes has gone on to badly misplay a ball in the OF.

    • The Mayor

      No kidding. I was laughing at that little nugget.

  • Jono

    I like those outfielders, but not for the lengths they’ll probably demand. Ellsbury or choo for 3 years? Sure. That’ll be awesome. I think most of us would like that. But 6? No thanks

    • On The Farm

      I would rather have Ellsbury for 6 than Choo for 6 years though. Speed be damned

      • ssckelley

        Ellsbury will be 35 at the end of the contract and Choo will be 36, neither of them will be worth 15-20 million per year by then. The Cubs might get 2 productive seasons out of either of them before their skills start declining. If the Cubs cannot sign either of them to a 3 year contract, possibly some mutual options years at the end, then I cannot see how they would be interested.

        • ETS

          if current inflation trends continue they will each be worth that at age 34-36

          • ssckelley

            That would take an incredible amount of inflation.

            • ETS

              see tim lincecum.

              • ssckelley

                A team overpaying for a former Cy Young Award pitcher is not a very good example of inflation. Pretty much everyone outside the Giants organization agrees Lincecum was overpaid even by todays standards.

                • Kyle

                  See Hunter Pence

            • Kyle

              Wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. There was a time in the 1990s when The Biggest Contract Evah would seem quaint and small within a few years.

            • Edwin

              It also depends how optimistic you are about Ellsbury. If you think he could be worth 5 WAR starting next year, and project a .5 WAR decrease for each following season, while starting the value of a $/win at 5.5 and inreasing by 5% each year to estimate for the increase in $/WAR value, Ellsbury would be worth $17 Million in the last year of the deal.

        • Edwin

          I dont’ think anyone expects any player that signs a contract like that to be worth $15-$20 million at the end. That’s not how those contracts work.

          • ssckelley

            Oh yeah, I forgot in year 4 we will send him to the Yankees along with a butt load of cash and get a A ball prospect in return. I love it when the Cubs pay for ballplayers to play on other teams.

            • Edwin

              I don’t understand. Should a team only sign a player if they’re sure that the last year of the contract will be just as productive or more so than the first?

              • On The Farm

                Exactly, I think he should still provide average production over the life of his contract and if free agents are going to get more expensive, it will be even harder to sign them in the future. Right now we have a protected pick and we can only acquire players when they are available, so why not now?

                • Funn Dave

                  This.

              • ssckelley

                Epstein has been clear on his stance on not paying for past performance. Under Hendry and the previous ownership I would say these deals would be a possibility, but this FO has not shown any desire to sign players over 30 to long term deals. I think they will do like they have the past 2 years, they will wait out the market and allow everyone else to blow their wads and then January see who is left standing.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Yep, repeatedly I’ve heard this directly from them. That’s why I think no to Choo and Ellsbury.

                  • Jay

                    Certainly not this year will they do anything different.

                • cub2014

                  Actually last year they went after one of the
                  top FA pitchers supposedly offered him the
                  most money he decided to stay inn Detroit
                  then they went to plan B: Edwin Jackson.

                  They didn’t wait?

                • Kyle

                  “Not paying for past performance” is such a platitude. Nobody *intends* to do it. And yet, with Castro and Jackson, that’s exactly what we did this year.

                  • ssckelley

                    I disagree, they paid both based on what they thought they were worth moving forward. They happened to be wrong, at least last year. I am sure no team intends on paying for past performance but some team will over pay for players and the Giants were the first to step up (Lincecum).

                    • Kyle

                      They *tried* to pay for future performance, but it didn’t work out.

                      Nobody tries to pay for past performance. That’s why it’s so meaningless to say.

                    • ssckelley

                      Those were Epsteins words not mine. To me paying for past performance and over paying are basically the same thing.

                    • Pat

                      So the projections for Castro and Jackson were based on what then?

                      Projections are based on past performance. People get paid based on projections. Therefore Theo’s quote about not paying for past performance is a bunch of meaningless bullshit (or corporate speak if you prefer).

                  • BT

                    that’s not true unless you are implying it’s literally always true. Not paying for past performance means “Don’t pay a 30 year old assuming he will give you a 27 year old’s season”. We paid Castro on the assumption his best years were still to come, not behind him. While every player is different, in general there is no reason to believe a 23 year old has peaked, and every reason to believe he will get better.

                    • SH

                      “That’s not true unless you are implying it means what it says.”

                      FTFY

                  • Kyle

                    Many things Epstein says are meaningless platitudes. Maybe even most?

                    • Professor Snarks

                      You’re gonna get in trouble…

                    • Andrew

                      but but but…sustained success…not paying for past performance … baseball is better. I think I agree with you. Theo says things pretty eloquently but they are universally accepted ideas. Every GM wants tons of superstar talent to come from cheap youngsters. Nobody wants to overpay for talent. just about any move at the time its made can fit into thee vague goals he has for the organization.

                • Andrew

                  The fact is that there isnt any help coming in the outfield in the near future. If the cubs want a contending team in 2015, which they damn well better be, they need to get a good bat in the OF. Soler won’t be ready yet, neither will almora and theres a good chance one of them will suck anyway. The outfield free agents next year are a lot worse than they are this year. This is the year to improve and get a guy like Choo or Ellsbury because they will fill a hole on the team that isn’t going to be filled anytime soon.

            • cubmig

              ……and why has no one mentioned that players now-a-days are in much better shape and with upgraded care to resort to, that playing time—despite an over 32 age—they may still be valuable to contribute beyond such an arbitrary cut-off age? By that type of standard Beltran has no business playing ball, period.

        • On The Farm

          It’s just my opinion, but I think Ellsbury could give us two really good years up front. Then in the last four years he would have one good year, two average, one bad mixed in some random fashion. While speed my be his greatest asset, by the end of his contract he should still be able to play above average D, we don’t really need him to steal 50 bases a year anyway. I just want a hitter in the leadoff spot that I know can get on in front of our big bats. In his later years he may need to move down the lineup, but I think Ellsbury has a good bat (not even factoring in the MVP caliber season).

          • Edwin

            And hopefully, by that time later in his career, the Cubs will have young cost controlled players ready to take over his production, so the team is still able to keep winning despise overpaying for Ellsbury.

          • MightyBear

            Its what I’ve been saying for two months now. Well done. You have to get the FA’s that work when they are available. Jason Werth.

            • terencemann

              The Nationals were ahead of where the Cubs are in terms of having players on the ML roster who would be part of the future of the team when they signed Werth, though. In addition, they had Strasburg and Harper. If you were to go by the Nationals’ model, next year would be the year to add a big free agent.

              • ssckelley

                I agree, and I think next off season is where we see the Cubs being more active in the free agency. I think we see more value signing types again this off season unless someone falls through the cracks that they think can help long term. Next season we should see players like Bryant and, hopefully, Baez at some point. I think Vitters gets 1 more shot to prove he can hit MLB pitching, along with Olt, and by next off season they will see where they still have holes to fill.

                Soriano comes off the payroll along with Fujikawa (unless they pick up the option) and Villaneuva freeing up about 23 million in salary after next season. The only player the Cubs really have hanging out there will be Schierholtz and I could see him getting extended before the end of next season.

                • Jono

                  that salary relief has to play a significant factor. You can’t poo-poo 23 million dollars

                • CubFan Paul

                  “Schierholtz…I see him getting extended before the end of next season”

                  I hope you meant traded by next July

                  • ssckelley

                    That is a possibility as well. But what if the Cubs are above .500 at the trade deadline?

                    • CubFan Paul

                      .500 or not you don’t extend Schierholtz. Sweeney won the lefthanded extension competition.

                      I think Schierholtz gets traded this offseason to a team needing platoon-power.

                    • Jay

                      Schierholz is a nice cheap piece of the puzzle for us now while we just try to find a team to put on the field. He is not a long-term solution and will not be here when the team is actually a real MLB team.

                    • ssckelley

                      If that is the case then why not move him this off season and start Sweeney in right? I also kinda liked what the Cubs got out of Bogusevic as well and I think he makes a nice bench piece. A trade in this off season could open up more free agent possibilities in the outfield (ie Granderson).

                • Kyle

                  I remember when these arguments went down back in the fall of 2011, many people said “we’re not ready yet, we’ll be big players in free agency in 2013.”

                  I’m sure that when next year comes around, it’ll be pushed back yet again.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    People thought we’d be players in free agency in 2011 because of the misleading quotes from the front office. I bought it…

                  • ETS

                    I think the FA pursuit is more tied to the state of the wrigley renovation than it is to whether we are “ready to compete”.

                    • Ken

                      The FA Pursuit is tied ONLY to the RIGHT Player at the RIGHT Time. Go after Ellsbury(Perfect bridge player till Almora, Soler, Bryant) Go after Tanaka. EXPECTED improvement from Rizzo and Castro and that team can compete…and the Long term plan is still intact.

                    • cms0101

                      Why do the people that want the Cubs to sign big-time free agents never put any stock into the draft impacts? I don’t disagree that some signings make sense, even if it means losing a 1st or 2nd round pick. But there are more serious impacts to the overall draft with losing one of those picks, and the pool dollars that are attached. That could affect the entire draft, not just the lost player. A guy like Tanaka makes PERFECT sense to go all in on. No compensation issues, other than what the posting fee will be and what his salary demands are. Signing guys with qualifying offers has a much more significant impact to the overall draft now that there are pool dollars involved. Previously, the Cubs could spend frivolously in free agency, then throw gobs of money at a 5th round pick, ala Shark. Factoring in the draft class to free agency decisions has to be part of the game now. Even trying to sign Garza could be the way to go, given he was traded mid-season and not eligible for draft compensation. I’m all for signing free agents, but I would hope the draft impacts are thoroughly investigated before sacrificing the pool dollars of a lost pick to make it happen.

                    • ssckelley

                      ETS, it is odd that the original plan was for Wrigley to be renovated by 2015 and 2015 seems to be the year some of the top prospects are supposed to arrive.

                      @cms, good points and another reason why I do not think the Cubs will go after free agents that have compensation tied to them. Even losing a 2nd round pick would results in a couple million dollars lost in draft pool money. Since they finished with such a bad record last season I think this FO wants 1 more big draft before making a run at free agents.

                  • Edwin

                    All hail The Plan.

                  • ssckelley

                    Kyle, I have to admit I was one of those guys hoping the Cubs would be in a better place this off season. Maybe I am a bit optimistic but I believe the Cubs only need a couple of pieces to be competitive next season and 2015 is looking awesome.

                  • Kyle

                    “Why do the people that want the Cubs to sign big-time free agents never put any stock into the draft impacts?”

                    Because the effects for a team with a protected pick are minimal.

                    First-round picks matter. The rest, not really.

                    • cms0101

                      The dollars lost matter in the pool. The impacts are greater than you are stating. I’m not concerned about any one individual player in the draft. But say they sacrifice a 2nd round pick this year and then lose the pool dollars(plus 5%). That could impact at least one other signing, maybe more. The current draft pool rules make losing those picks more detrimental than just missing out on one player, like in the past. You can’t just blindly say 1st round picks matter, yet comment on how well the Cardinals draft in later rounds on previous days. If we want to emulate the Cardinals, we need those extra pool dollars to lock down as many of the picks as possible.

                    • cms0101

                      Under the right circumstances, with the right players involved, making the draft pick, and pool, sacrifice is the right thing to do. Further, given the amount of credit our front office is given for being smart guys, I would expect that they take into consideration things like a weak draft class when determining the value of a free agent attached to draft compensation, and what they would be giving up to sign him. The claim to have done something similar with the international free agents this year, overspending now because next year’s expected class is weaker, therefore they can absorb the penalties. I can’t pretend to know this years draft class value, but I have heard it is better than the previous two years, for whatever that’s worth. I’m not saying unequivocally no, don’t sign a free agent. But it better be well thought out, after everything we’ve been enduring the last few years.

                    • On The Farm

                      Do Cardinals typically spend over slot money on late round picks? That would be the only benefit to having our second round pick (aside from having the actual pick). Slot money for the 4th pick(round 2) is probably what $1 million? so 5% of that is $50,000. So yeah it effects about one signing. Where the pool really takes a hit is the 1st round pick, but that is protected this offseason. After the first pick the signing bonus pool implications drop off a cliff.

                    • Kyle

                      “The dollars lost matter in the pool.”

                      They really don’t.

                      ” But say they sacrifice a 2nd round pick this year and then lose the pool dollars(plus 5%). That could impact at least one other signing, maybe more.”

                      I really don’t care, unless that pick is the first-rounder.

                      “You can’t just blindly say 1st round picks matter, yet comment on how well the Cardinals draft in later rounds on previous days.”

                      You’re the second person who thought that I said that. Unless you’re the same person repeating it. I really don’t recall praising the Cardinals’ late-round abilities.

                      The Cardinals have had one second-round pick in the last 10 become a vaguely useful MLBer, and that was Jon Jay. Late-round picks don’t really matter. If you only get 47 of them instead of 49 because you lost a pick and the pool money, who cares?

                    • ssckelley

                      It would make more sense to go all out on free agency when you have that 1st round pick protected. I am just having a hard time finding that impact player in this free agent class that is worth both giving a huge contract to and losing the 2nd round pick.

                      It is worth noting that the Red Sox have not lost a #1 pick since 2004 and the Cardinals have not lost a #1 pick since 2002.

                    • cms0101

                      We’re just going to disagree Kyle. In my opinion there are just no attractive free agents worth sacrificing what I deem to be a valuable part of the draft, a second round pick. Not sure about the 2013 pick yet, but the 2012 2nd round pick is arguable the best pitching prospect the Cubs have. He’ll be approaching AA next season and I’m glad they didn’t sacrifice the pick for someone like Michael Bourn. And if the pool money can be spread to multiple picks, I’d rather see that happen too. I do agree that signing a guy when you only lose your 2nd round pick is the obviously better choice, timing-wise. But the only free agent out there that an argument could be made to convince me to go after is Ellsbury, and they’re just not going to pony up the money to get him this offseason. And even then, a 4 year deal is about all I could stomach, and he’ll get way more than that. I recall you commenting on a topic related to the Cardinals. Maybe you didn’t specifically say something regarding the Cardinals and I’m confusing your comments with someone else’s. I’m guessing that’s what the other person was remembering as well.

                    • Kyle

                      First, why do you deem the 2nd-round picks to be so valuable?

                      Second, I’m pretty sure you are thinking of the 2012 Cubs’ supplemental first-rounder, not the 2nd-round pick. The second-rounder from that year is coming off a somewhat disappointing year in Boise.

                    • On The Farm

                      Yeah Underwood still has a lot of time to develop, but I don’t know about him. I am much more optimisitc about the other comp pick Blackburn right now, and even he hasn’t faced MWL.I would say a guy like Bourn, Ellsbury, or Choo have a better chance of producing more WAR than whatever 2nd round pick the Cubs select.

                    • ssckelley

                      Actually had they signed Michael Bourn they would have lost the opportunity to draft Rob Zastryzny, who I believe signed under slot which could have prevented them from signing another player.

                    • SH

                      You’re correct that it has effects — that’s kind of the point. But when the median WAR of late first round picks is 0.0, it seems slightly ridiculous to worry about a sliver of our draft pool and prayers of a diamond in the rough when thinking about acquiring players whose careers we can only dream will be rivaled when our *best* draft picks reach the majors.

                  • 400feet2home

                    I just don’t understand. It seems like staggering payroll between a few free agents would be a good thing. You get one this year and you get another two years from now.

                    No one who advocates we sign a top tier free agent is advocating Ellsbury at 6 years 180 million. Demanding 3 years at 60 million is just as crazy, if not more so.

                    Look at those players for 4-5 years, with 5 years most likely. If we could get someone for between 95-115 million. I think this is where you have the debate and I would be fine with those numbers (obviously hoping for closer to 4 years, 90). If it gets more expensive, then I walk away.

                    *2 cents from a relatively uninformed fan

                  • Funn Dave

                    Yeah I was just thinking the same thing.

                • Andrew

                  look at the potential OF Free Agents next year and tell me what big names they would sign?

                  Center fielders

                  Emilio Bonifacio (30)
                  Tony Gwynn Jr. (32)
                  Colby Rasmus (28)
                  Denard Span (31) – $9MM club option with a $500K

                  Left fielders

                  Melky Cabrera (30)
                  Chris Denorfia (34)
                  Brett Gardner (31)
                  Jonny Gomes (34)
                  Tony Gwynn Jr. (32)
                  Scott Hairston (35)
                  Ryan Ludwick (36) – $9MM mutual option with a $4.5MM buyout
                  Seth Smith (32)
                  Alfonso Soriano (39)
                  Vernon Wells (36)
                  Josh Willingham (36)

                  Right fielders

                  Norichika Aoki (33)
                  Michael Cuddyer (36)
                  Chris Denorfia (34)
                  Scott Hairston (35)
                  Torii Hunter (39)
                  Nick Markakis (31) – $17.5MM mutual option; $2MM buyout if club declines
                  Alex Rios (34) – $13.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
                  Nate Schierholtz (31)

                  The only worthwhile free agent in the bunch is Gardner, who is a month younger than Ellsbury, will demand a similar contract, and is not as good as Ellsbury. The Cubs have no solidly above average outfielders now, and will maybe have one (Bryant if hes not a 3B) by 2015. This is an area of longterm deficiency that can be helped best this year.

                  • SH

                    Soriano or Hairston could make for good buy-low candidates.

                    • SH

                      Make a few waiver wire pickups + the farm producing and we’ll be in the playoffs #isawthemoviemoneyball

                  • YourResidentJag

                    I don’t Granderson on your list. Also, think Markakis would be a solid acquistion.

                    • http://www.rotochamp.com RotoChamp

                      It’s not this year’s FAs…..next year.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Gotcha.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

                    With all due respect to the players on that list, I’ll pass and take my chances with the pick. This is just an opinion, but I always thought unless you were a team that was in the window for a run at the World Series, that a top tier big money free agent on the wrong side of 30 was a fools errand. If the asking price for Choo and others starts out at 80-100 million for multiple years, I’m out. Espically in the current market where picks and prospects have more value than ever because of their years of control, both in cost and service. In theo’s place I would rather bet on my scouts, and player evaluation personell to find great picks, and undervalued players for trade, than I would for Choo or Cano to post anything close to past preformance.

                • Mike F

                  And this is the mistake everyone makes. Most of the names people fixate on in 2015 won’t be available. The young players will be either be resigned or traded and signed by the acquiring teams. If you postpone winning beyond target 2015, you will likely see a regime change. Chicago a major market has sustained 4 incredibly bad years of losing. To continue to postpone winning with no sign of progress will be more problematic than people think.

                  I also agree with Kyle. Theo speak is devoid of any meaning, and most of what he says is BS. And that is a good trait in my view of Baseball Man or GM. And Theo was the guy that spent 300M on two fa in Boston just a couple of years ago.

                  I think he will be all in on Jacoby Ellsbury.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

                    Signing Ellsbury and FA like him is a one way ticket to Regime change, unless you get him at your price.

              • Jono

                exactly. It’s better to sign an expensive, impact free agent to a long contract when you get his better years while you’re contending or when he puts you into contention. I’m sure these won’t be the last free agents to hit the market. They are willing to sign guys like Jackson to 4 year deals to add depth, so it’s not like they’re avoiding free agents.

              • MightyBear

                You totally missed the point. Even the Nationals Rizzo said at the time that they weren’t ready to add free agents when they added Werth. He said, however that you have to add FA when they are available. Werth wasn’t going to be on the market when the Nationals were “ready”. Just like Ellsbury’s not going to be on the market when the Cubs are “ready”.

          • jj

            If the Cubs mgmt agrees with your view on Ellsbury’s future they should sign him. My own view is Ellsbury provides one good season, three average years, and three increasingly bad years. I also think Choo will hold his value better than Ellsbury over 6 years.

            • YourResidentJag

              I don’t think either will hold their value.

  • Eric

    If we are going to make one big-ticket acquisition this off-season, my preference is Tanaka (assuming the front office believes he can be a front-line starter). I don’t want anything to do with Choo at 6 years.

    • CubFan Paul

      Only if the posting fee doesn’t come out of the $105M payroll.

      Unless the renovation starts in November I don’t see where the Tanaka money comes from.

      • terencemann

        Just like the Cubs are willing to spend whatever money they can on amateur players, I think the posting fee wouldn’t be a problem. It’s losing draft picks that they seem to be wary of and they know pitching is going to be an issue if they want to be competitive in a season or two.

        • CubFan Paul

          The amateur budget is already factored into the budget. Posting fees are not.

          • Jay

            This posting crap drives me crazy and should make anybody think really long and hard about bothering with any Jap players of that magnitude. By the time you’re done, you’re paying more than you would be for Clayton Kershaw and you still have no idea what the guy will do on this side of the pond.

            • Edwin

              That’s not true. So far, it’s paid off for the Rangers. Clayton Kershaw, if on the market right now, is easily at the $25 Million per year level, possibley even $30 Million.

              • Andrew

                Josh hamilton was worth over 25 mill per year last year. Kershaw is probably worth 35 per on the open market.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              Nice use of racist term Jay…I will go on ignoring you now.

            • Jon

              Including the posting fee, the Rangers got Darvish for about 18 a year.
              Racist and uninformed, that’s what we call double header

              • Andrew

                ya that means they paid 36 million so far for 10 wins of production so far for a player just entering his prime years. Thats an incredible return.

            • Patrick W.

              How is it that you think it’s okay to use that term? Where does it fit in your world view? You’ve done it more than once, and been called out for it as well. Do you have no sense of what is and isn’t acceptable?

            • DarthHater

              “By the time you’re done, you’re paying more than you would be for Clayton Kershaw”

              Totally and obviously false.

    • Cubswin2015

      I agree I would like them to throw a posting number higher than what it was for Darvish because that will probably be what it takes with the Yankees involved. We need a TOR arm whether that be Tanaka or trading Shark and a prospect for a Bradley, Tallion or some other top pitching prospect

  • CubFan Paul

    I think Tim Dierks got hacked on twitter. He tweeted $150M for Ellsbury.

    • Kyle

      Wouldn’t stun me. Prices are about to go through the roof.

      • CubFan Paul

        Every team has an extra $25M to spend (or pocket (*cough*)) so I can see that

        • terencemann

          I’m still waiting to see if that Lincecum deal is really that far off the mark. I think you can do better with $35 MM but, if it’s a sign of hyper-inflation, things could get nutty.

          • CubFan Paul

            I think it’s far off and just what one team decided to do with extra revenue funds.

            Small markets will probably raise payroll $5M-$15M a year, and larger markets will probably make Lincecum-like mistakes because they have more cash to do so.

  • Rizzo1684

    I was all about Choo on a 5 year 80-85 million deal but after reading everything that I am, I really think he is going to end up getting that 6th year. I hope the Cubs go strong after Tanaka and if they fall short (which they will) then I think they will sign Nelson Cruz to a 3 year deal. I think 3/45 would get it done for him and he could be a veteran or plays a corner outfield spot and has some power. He also knows how to take a walk.

    • Voice of Reason

      If you want to sign a free agent to help get asses in the seats then sign someone who can club the ball out of the park.

      Who goes to a game to watch a speedy little center fielder steal a base?

      I like the Nelson Cruz idea. But, let’s make sure he is still on roids otherwise why sign him? Give him a test and make sure he is still juicing and then have him sign on the spot!

      Cruz should come at some what of a decent price.

      • ssckelley

        I agree, if the Cubs sign anybody in the free agency go for a slugger. Speed is usually the first to decline as you age which is what scares me on guys like Ellsbury. Not that power does not decline, but it does not seem it declines as fast.

        • YourResidentJag

          I keep sayin it: Granderson. Recently I read that Hart is going to have problems with the OF because of he knee problems. Besides, didn’t the Brewers turn him into their starting 1b went Matt Gamel went down with injury.

          • YourResidentJag

            *his

          • ssckelley

            That sucks, a right handed bat like Hart would look nice in between Rizzo and Schierholtz. I would rather they give Vitters a shot than going after a guy like Mike Morse.

            I just do not think it will happen with Granderson. The power will be nice, I wish he was a righty.

            • YourResidentJag

              Yeah, kinda does. And yes Morse can’t play OF well, either.

          • terencemann

            I just don’t feel like worrying about Granderson until we see what happens with the Yankees. There’s a lot of seemingly valid speculation that he’d take a qualifying offer or maybe the two sides will work out a longer deal. They’re top priorities are supposed to include bringing back Cano and Granderson.

            • YourResidentJag

              Maybe he takes a qualifying offer….although I think he’s going to miss out on what could be a multi-year deal in the open market. And if that’s the case, I wouldn’t worry about the Yankees, especially with the tremendous PR hit they’ll take should they let Cano go via FA.

            • ssckelley

              I have wondered the same thing. Granderson might be lucky to get a 2 yr/14-20 million offer out in the FA market, if the Yankees gave him a qualifying offer it makes sense that he would take it. He has a lot of question marks along with declining performance and coming off an injury that I cannot see teams offering him a huge payday. Especially if it costs them a draft pick.

              • Rizzovoir Dog

                Trade for Ethier. Won’t cost much and the Dodgers will eat a large chunk of his salary.

                • CF

                  That’d be an interesting trade given that the Cubs don’t really have a bad contract to swap for Ethier and MLB requires all money changing hands in a trade to be exchanged in the same year. Ethier has ~$70 million and 4 years left on his contract, so the Dodgers would need to pick up a pretty sizeable chunk ($20+ million?) and pay it in the next year to make a trade palatable. And that’s without a prospect of any note heading back to the Dodgers. He’s still a decent bat though.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Either bats poorly against LHP.

                  • cub2014

                    If you can get Ethier w/o giving up a
                    bunch do it, he still had .360 obp overall,
                    then you get Lake some AB against
                    lefties.

      • Funn Dave

        “Who goes to a game to watch a speedy little center fielder steal a base?”

        You kidding? Do you remember how excited Brewers fans got when they picked up Niger Morgan? Or how giddy everybody was about Campana before they realized how useless he was? And let’s keep in mind that speed isn’t good for stealing–it can help players get on base and get to balls faster on defense.

      • danimal8

        Cruz? Seriously? Didn’t we just get rid of Soriano after years and years of complaining and now someone wants to go out and get his shitty little brother (post PED mind you). This free agent class is terrible, and next year is shaping up to be terrible as well. Acquire inexpensive pieces, work the draft and international pool, focus on development and don’t fall victim to the impatience of some fans, that is what I hope happens.

    • CubFan Paul

      Cruz does not know how to take a walk. He’s got power and would probably eat the Central’s pitching alive.

      My question is: can he run? Hasn’t he had leg injuries? I don’t watch Rangers games but I doubt Theo&Co will want to downgrade in defense.

      • ssckelley

        I think the bigger question on Cruz is post PED can he still knock the ball out of the ball park? But no way will they go more than 2 years on the guy. He could be a value type pick up that is still without a contract come January.

      • terencemann

        He’s a really bad right fielder who only plays there because of the way this Rangers team was constructed. He was usually the DH when Hamilton was available. He seems to get a lot of smaller nagging injuries but hasn’t missed a lot of games, per BP’s player card, due to them.

        • ssckelley

          What am I missing? He only played 7 games at DH last season and only made 3 errors starting in right field. I do see his assists has went clear down to 1 (arm problems?). If the guy can still hit the ball and will take a “prove it” type of contract then why not? The Cubs have plenty of defensive replacements for the late innings if his defense really is that bad.

          • CubFan Paul

            “good” defense is about the only constant the Cubs have had the last 3yrs. I’m spoiled now. I don’t want any OF stiffs or defensive liabilities.

            • Voice of Reason

              The team has been awful the last couple years yet you feel spoiled by sensational defense?

              Can we raise the bar a bit here?

              • CubFan Paul

                Awful record wise and when did I say/use “sensational”?

          • terencemann

            Fielding % isn’t a very good metric for judging fielders. Neither are assists, really, if you consider an everyday outfielder plays 1000+ innings of baseball so 4-5 assists don’t outweigh the value of range.

            Cruz used to be an acceptable right fielder but his range gets increasingly worse as time goes on so he’s quickly trending in the wrong direction.

            Actually, he did play more RF than I thought….

            • Rizzo1684

              Cruz’s bad defense is being over blown. He would be a fine LF for the Cubs if the front office decided to go that route.

              • Jono

                I wouldn’t mind cruz. He’d be a nice pick up. A little more lineup depth

            • ssckelley

              I agree, that is why I was asking the question. I have not seen Nelson enough to know if he is a defensive liability or not so all I have is statistics.

  • King Jeff

    Seung-Hwan Oh has been drawn stylistic comparisons to Fujikawa. He had arm troubles a few years ago, but he’s been lights out every other year. I think he is in his early 30′s, so I’m not sure why he has to go through the posting process unless he is still under contract in the KBO. He’s been one of the top closers over there for years, I wouldn’t mind adding him to the bullpen mix.

    • YourResidentJag

      Ewww.

  • Rizzo1684

    Cruz is not great at taking walks but compared to this Cubs team he knows how to take one.

    • CubFan Paul

      Being wrong doesn’t make you right…

  • X The Cubs Fan

    Tanaka for the Cubs 1 big move.

  • BlameHendry

    Why are you people entertaining any of these rumors? It’s not gonna happen, the Cubs are not signing anybody worth getting excited over. They are “broke.” All you can hope for is that they follow Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” approach and pray it works out.

    • ssckelley

      and what is the moneyball approach this off season?

    • Mike F

      Then they made a huge mistake. Theo is not Billy Beane and Beane wanted an interview and the job.

      And for the record, by no definition are the Cubs broke, no matter how many times you say it.

      • danimal8

        I don’t see Billy polishing any rings

  • cub2014

    b Hendry, use your brain! They signed a long term FA
    last year, some of the prospects will be up in 2014.
    Its only logical they will add 1 maybe 2 long term (5yr
    or less) contracts this off season.

    • cub2014

      I think they sign a legit left handed hitting OF.
      Think about it, if their prospect OF’s all hit (bryant,
      soler,almora) which is unlikely they all bat right
      handed. Choo gives them flexability to play CF
      or corner (I here all the blah blah blah that he cant
      play CF, he did for a playoff team this year) so
      he could move depending on who makes it to the
      bigs in the next couple years. For now your 3rd OF
      is a choice between Lake, Vitters,Sweeney and
      Bogusevic. (I think Schierholtz probably is traded).
      That’s sound like a solid plan to me. But just cause
      they want him doesn’t mean they can sign him.

  • Chris S

    Who’s stove is that?

  • FastBall

    I don’t think we sign Choo or Ellsbury to anything longer than 3 years. 1st if our players promote from within on or close to schedule we won’t need them for more than 2 years. We could always trade them but there contracts will be upside down and we will be eating 3 years of salary at over 50% owed each year. That just sets the team back in $$ it could spend elsewhere. Now I have no problem over paying for them to the extent it takes to get them for 3 year deals. Say we have to ovepay $3MM to $5MM a year just to get them signed. Easy to do that than be stuck with something like $40MM to $50MM for which we end up eating most of the $$. I think 2 years is all the longer we will need these type of players. I don’t hate the idea of having them around as veteran leadership types for an extra year. I hope that Castro and Rizzo are stepping into the veteran leadership roles by that time period. Hopefully we a couple more home grown players who are matured enough to be veteran type leaders. Who those will be is beyond me at this point. Maybe Castillo. The rest of the current 9 starters most likely won’t be on this team at that point.

    • cub2014

      Fastball, who are these cant miss prospects? I
      have never heard of such a thing. We do have
      very good potential in the minors. But lets be
      realistic. Baez probably up this year, Bryant will
      also be up sometime this year. Almora and Soler
      are probably not coming up until 2016 and we want
      to wait and hope they are stars? I don’t. Signing
      legit big league hitters to reasonable contracts
      makes sense.

      • Funn Dave

        I don’t necessarily agree with his point, but I also don’t see anywhere in his post where he uses the phrase “can’t-miss prospects.” In fact, he even stipulates that his hypotheses only apply IF they get promoted on schedule.

        • cub2014

          dave, fastball wants to wait and pencil in our prospects in 2015
          & 2016. I said “cant miss prospects” because he is saying these
          guys will all be starting for the Cubs. Not even remotely likely!

  • Jon

    It’s easy to poke fun and take a Heymen for granted, until you expect it to be there and it isn’t

  • steve

    I’m hoping our off season gets us Tanaka, Cruz, and Saltalamachia. That gives us soe power to mix in with the kids on offense, while also adding two vets from very successful teams to provide some leadership that this team is missing. Tanaka would add to our rotation and make that stronger. Adding Saltalamachia allows us to move Castillo in a trade with maybe Shark and Schierholz to get Cargo and something else. If we add the two in free agency and manage a trade for Cargo, mix in Baez and Bryant, w/Rizzo and Castillo, we should be strong offensively.

    • On The Farm

      Why do people want to trade for Carlos Gonzalez so bad? Please point out the benefits of having a guys who hasn’t put together very many healthy seasons in his young career, aside from this year plays better at Coors field than anywhere else, and has a very large contract. I just don’t see the benefits of trading for him.

      • ssckelley

        I think it is the same people that pop in and ask about Bob Brenly for manager.

      • Edwin

        It’s not such a bad contract. 7/80, right? That’s only $11 Million a season. Even being unhealthy he’s still averaged 3 WAR per season over the past three seasons. He just turned 28 about a week ago. His fielding isn’t terrible, and he seems to be a good baserunner.

        With the whole Coors field thing, I mean, obviously he’d play better there than anywhere else, it’d be strange if he didn’t.

        I don’t think the Cubs need to pursue him, but if the Rockies are making him available, the Cubs should listen.

      • Jon

        I’d take 130 games of Cargo over 162 games of Ryan Sweeney

        • CubFan Paul

          Me too.

        • cub2014

          I would take 130 games of CarGo and 32 from Sweeney/Lake
          in a heartbeat!

        • MichiganGoat

          But what are you willing to give up and more importantly if you were the Rockies what would you be asking for?

          • Fishin Phil

            Is it too late to send them Ian Stewart back??

            ;)

          • cub2014

            Now Rockies owner says Gonzalez or Tulo are not
            being traded (for what that is worth). But the rumor
            in Denver was they love Arrieta along with Schierholtz
            (or some big league OFer) Vogelbach (to replace Helton
            at 1st in a few years) and a minor league pitcher like
            Black or Johnson. I hate giving up Vogelbach but I would
            make that trade. Again was a rumor.

            • cub2014

              maybe we trade Rizzo instead of Vogelbach and
              the pitcher. I just read a great article on Vogelbach
              said he will be a middle of the lineup hitter and his
              defense will be passable.

              • Funn Dave

                Correction: he *may become* a middle of the lineup hitter and his defense *may* be passable. We already know Rizzo has stellar defense and can perform adequately from a batting standpoint.

                • Kyle

                  People need to begin to prepare themselves for the reality that *most* of the prospects in the Vogelbach/Alcantara tier turn into nothing.

                  • Patrick W.

                    I would have no problem trading Vogelbach/Alcantara or somebody in that tier to make the major league team even marginally better right now.

                    • SH

                      You want to mortgage the farm for past performance? Okay, Jim Hendry #isawthemoviemoneyball

                    • On The Farm

                      “You want to mortgage the farm for past performance? Okay, Jim Hendry #isawthemoviemoneyball”

                      Yeah, that’s what Patrick said. You do realize that not all prospects make it. The thing that makes Almora, Baez, and Bryant all valuable is where they were selected in the draft. There is some pretty good research at their chances of posting a positive WAR in the big leagues. What do we know about Vogelbach and Alcanatara? One can hit A ball, and did pretty well in A+, the other had a good start to AA, but toward the end of the season his production started to drop.

                      #ioverreacttoeverything

                    • Patrick W.

                      Is there something between mortgaging the farm and never making a trade of your minor league players for major league players?

                      Do you seriously believe that every Cubs prospect in the 5-10 rank is going to hit? I don’t think it’s ridiculous to suggest that adding Vogelbach or Alcantara (position players in positions not likely to be a need in the next 5 years) to a trade to get a 3-war player at a reasonable contract is not “mortgaging the farm”. I think it’s quite frankly ridiculous to suggest it is.

                    • SH

                      Kidding.

                    • ssckelley

                      Me neither, us Cub fans have got to stop over valuing our farm system. Think back to 2002, some of those top prospects were used to acquire established MLB ball players (DLee and Ramirez). Not all prospects are going to make it anyway and this is why you have a good farm system.

                      Honestly I think you would be selling high on Alcantara if you traded him right now.

                    • Kyle

                      “Is there something between mortgaging the farm and never making a trade of your minor league players for major league players?”

                      If you don’t trade all your major league players for *more* minor leaguers, you’re mortgaging the farm.

                  • cms0101

                    Agreed. Good teams develop guys like this solely for the purpose of improving the major league team. It’s not an accident when the Cardinals or Braves, time and time again, trade prospects for ML talent and the prospects don’t amount to much thereafter. (See Aroldys Vizcaino, Ruben Quevedo, Tyler Houston, Tyler Flowers).

            • Andrew

              difference between black and johnson is pretty big but either way I’d make that trade in a heartbeat if im the cubs.

            • cms0101

              I think you have to make that deal if it’s legitimate. I’d hate to lose Johnson, but all of the other mentioned pieces are expendable, in my opinion.

            • Funn Dave

              I’d make that trade.

            • ssckelley

              So the trade would be Tulowitzki AND Gonzalez in exchange for Arrieta, Schierholtz, Vogelbach, and either Black or Johnson?

              I would prefer to give up Black than Johnson but I would make that trade even if it meant giving up Johnson. Tulo is a damn good hitter even away from Coors and is in his prime. Gonzo is just as good as Schierholtz and is 2 years younger.

          • Andrew

            I’d say itd cost Samardzija and maybe Vogelbach or something? I’d make that ttrade though

          • CubFan Paul

            Not much, it’s a cash dump for Colorado. They knew they’d have to trade CarGo & Tulo someday

            • Andrew

              Regardless of their need to trade them it would be expensive simply because the cubs would have to beat the offers of a lot of other teams. In any proposed deal, the question to be asked is “would another team offer more?” If the answer is yes, then that deal wouldn’t be enough.

              • Funn Dave

                True for the most part, but remember that teams don’t value players equally–they all have different needs and scouting reports.

                • Andrew

                  of course. My point is that even if it is true that the Rockies have to trade CarGo, it wouldnt diminish what other teams would trade for him. If a team gives them an unacceptable offer, they’ll just tell another team to beat it, and they will because they recognize how good CarGo is.

                  • Funn Dave

                    Right on.

              • CubFan Paul

                Expensive like the Upton deal that I said would be a cash dump too?

                • Andrew

                  The upton deal wasn’t a cash dump at all though. The D backs immediately extended prado when they traded for him and guaranteed him just as much money as was going to be guaranteed to Upton. The diamondbacks just thought that Prado + Delgado (top 50 prospect) and all the other pieces that were in that deal was more valuable than any other deal out there. It’s worth noting that Upton’s price was artificially lower due to his no trade clause (he blocked a much better trade to the mariners for Taijuan Walker).

      • Funn Dave

        “Please point out the benefits of having a guys who hasn’t put together very many healthy seasons in his young career, aside from this year plays better at Coors field than anywhere else, and has a very large contract.”

        Not a great way to phrase your question–you can’t expect him to point out the benefits of CarGo’s bad qualities. Maybe instead you could list these bad qualities, and then ask him to point out the benefits of signing CarGo.

        • On The Farm

          Well geez Dave, that was kind of my point. He is often injured and the best thing about his bat is when he is playing at Coors Field. Take a look at this width of the splits, as I said in the initial post aside from this year: 2012 wOBA Home .442, away .299, 2011 H .423 A .329, 2010 H .485 A .355.

          Look at that gap there. That means from those three years he averaged .450 at Coors, and .328 on the road. This year is better, H .393 A .424. But for most of his career (including 2009) his numbers have been inflated by Coors field by an average of .122. Would he really become the best hitter on the Cubs, yeah probably. But that speaks more to the lack of talent than how good of a hitter Gonzalez is. I would imagine his numbers would decrease from not playing at Coors and his road numbers would stay about the same.

          • Patrick W.

            Isn’t the real question how much his home numbers would decrease? I agree they would probably decrease, but I doubt they would decrease all the way down to his road numbers. Don’t most players have worse splits away than at home? Perhaps that gap would go down, but it wouldn’t likely go down to nothing, would it?

            • Funn Dave

              I agree; they would probably decline, but all the way down to his road #s.

              That said, I could make the counterexample of the Cubs last season….

          • Funn Dave

            Yeah I get what you’re saying. I was just critiquing your debate style, probably unnecessarily.

          • jt

            CarGo GB/FB 1.28….. Career
            …………GB/FB 0.94….. 2013
            line drive rate career 20.5
            line drive rate 2013 21.6

          • Andrew

            this home/road split conversation was big when Upton was being traded and I think it’s worth reiterating here. A lot of CarGo’s road games are in pretty pitcher-friendly environments (San Diego, San Fran, and LA) which contributes to why his splits are so bad as well. The NL central stadiums all are either pretty neutral or favor hitters. Combine that with the general trend that hitters hit better at home than away. I think these splits are much less alarming than you think they are.

      • Andrew

        Because he would instantly become the best player on the cubs at a relatively cheap contract. That’s why people want the cubs to trade for him.

        • On The Farm

          I would hope fans would do a little digging before they just get all excited over a sexy name, who’s numbers may be inflated from the ball park he gets to play at (when he is actually healthy that is).

          • Andrew

            no matter the inflation, he would still be far and away the best player on the team and at a very reasonable contract.

    • SH

      Ted Cruz?

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    I can’t see Ellsbury or Choo given Scott Boras represents both. He’s not gonna undercut either of his clients on their chances at a 100-110M plus payday. I’d like to have either one, but you’d be hard press to beat the NY Mets or Yankees. Both have the cash flows and payroll room to add one (or both players.)

    Here’s the list of players (to my opinion) we will be in the market (some are subject to options) for:
    Offense:
    Dioner Navarro (30)
    Brayan Pena (32) – good cheap backup
    Jarrod Saltalamacchia (29) – will he do a 4 year/35-40M?
    Ben Zobrist (33) – Will Tampa let him go? (Or pay him and Price and Escobar?)
    Grady Sizemore (31) – injured forever now. Is he got anything left?
    Rajai Davis (33) – splits work for the Cubs
    Franklin Gutierrez (31) – another platoon candidate; Seattle must buyout.

    Starters:
    Erik Bedard (35) – hurt alot, but typically 100-125IP (5th starter) – still 92MPH+ at times. But gave up on a no-hit bid this year (walked 5, and lost)
    Jeff Francis (33) – coming off injury, BP option
    Phil Hughes (28) – was a better reliever; fly ball pitcher though
    Johan Santana (34) – Mets will buyout; does he have anything left??
    Masahiro Tanaka (25) – Marquee, big dollar investment; young.
    Edinson Volquez (30) – still throws hard; better stuff than his stats indicate.

    Relief:
    Edward Mujica (30) – pricey, but a groundball and control specialist.
    J.C. Ramirez (25) – Hardthrowing, wild (walks w/o Ks) underperforming, but 95MPH
    Eric O’Flaherty (29) – TJ, but effective in Hotlanta, listed as a FA.

    • ssckelley

      They were saying the same thing about Michael Bourn last off season. Boras started off asking for $100 million + and he ended up signing for 4 yrs/48 million with Cleveland. Boras is a great agent but he does not win them all.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        No, but NY is the key. Both are eager to spend and need offense and CF/RF. And the past (Bourn) is not predictive of the future…With Hunter Pence getting 90M, it basically sets a floor under the OF market.

        Is Boras gonna say, both players (their stats are better than Pence’s BTW – OBP, etc.) are gonna take 60M dollar deals when SF paid 90M for their OFer?

        These guys will both get a 5 year deals (if only by a team option/buyout).
        AAV will be nearer to 20M than 15M/yr, I will guarantee that.

        • CubFan Paul

          The Mets have cash flow?? Do they know that?

        • YourResidentJag

          I don’t think NY is the key. I’d say more like the Nationals. Wasn’t their team OBP this year quite avg?

    • Andrew

      Tampa will pick up Zobrists option or trade him, they arent dumb.

      Chris Young’s 11M option will probably be declined by the A’s given his poor season, but I think he is a good candidate for a bounce-back season and I’d like the cubs to jump on him.

      I like Dan Haren a lot this year. He proved hes past the injuries and he underperformed his peripherals last season. given his strikeouts and walks, I think he could be a nice comeback story.

      I think they go for Tanaka, Ellsbury and Choo. I like Tanaka most of those three but reallly adding any of those guys would make me a lot happier with where this team is headed. 2 out of 3 would make me ecstatic

      I want no part of Volquez. His strikeouts keep going down and he still walks a lot of people. He’s just not better than any of the inhouse options at this point

      Salty will cost more than that.

      Sizemore would be an awesome story but hes getting nothing more than a minor league contract with an invite. The guy has played 100 games since 2010, id put his odds at about the same as Mark Priors. Basically the same thing with Santana, although hes got a slightly better chance, I don’t think the cubs will do that.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        I am hoping they will trade him (Zobrist) because I know they are not dumb. It is a matter of them affording Price, Zobrist and Escobar when they are at 60M max for a salary base and have to fill holes – FAs or their ARBs.

        Chris Young, I guess that can be an option- not a big fan of it.

        Dan Haren, nope. Velocity is down…gives up the gopher ball (28) and so that an issue coming to the Wrigley venue.

        It is a matter of whether this ownership is gonna payout for those pricey guys you mentioned. Sure, I want Ellsbury and Tanaka. 210M to get them in our stable. The 300M renovation seems to be the front burner item, don’t you think?

        They have a 30M plus debt service to handle yearly (when they bought the team), plus that 300M “investment” will add more debt to the original buy. So, I have no way to believe they are going to put 100-200M into past 27 yr. old FAs.

        Tanaka is only a likely if he’s under 90M, which he likely is not. But that’s a BIG Risk. (Yes, I know Darvish and Kuroda. How bout Dice-K?)

        You want to roll those dice and commit that amount of cash – as the posting require that cash (the posting be paid upfront – once we win the bid), and sign? So that’s a 40-60M posting outflow to Japan….in 2014.

        Salty: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/10/free-agent-profile-jarrod-saltalamacchia.html if you think they are wrong. I was staying within the bounds of plausible. He could get 50M for 4 years. Depends on whose desperate for a catcher…since they are not a deep field, in general.

        [img]http://www.brooksbaseball.net/plot_bytime.php?s_type=2&time=month&player=429717&b_hand=-1&gFilt=&pFilt=FA|SI|FC|CU|SL|CS|KN|CH|FS|SB&startDate=03/01/2013&endDate=10/25/2013&minmax=ci&var=mph[/img]

        • Professor Snarks

          Jason, why all the love for Zobrist? He will be 33 at the start of next season, so his age doesn’t really fit the Cubs window. His stats are nice, but not overwhelming. He would cost decent assets.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            If Tampa wants to move him, for a package NOT including Baez, Almora, Bryant, Alcantara, or Edwards, why wouldn’t we be looking at him?

            I forgot once you are 33 you can no longer be any good. Not productive or anything…versatility dries up. You might as well call it a career.

            And what window do we have?

            I thought we were suppose to acquire talent that can make us potentially better, play the market (as Tampa has decidedly less revenue – than us) and builds through acquiring cheap potential talent. Is that window closed because he’s 33?

            So, if Tampa will take 3 prospects (say Vogelbach, Johnson, Vitters, or even, Soler – cause that’s my opinion so far of that acquisition), then why not?

            Why not like (not love) Zobrist? [img]http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs/wd_all_2013_2009_25_0_10_25_2013.png[/img]

            • Funn Dave

              “I forgot once you are 33 you can no longer be any good. Not productive or anything…versatility dries up. You might as well call it a career.”

              Right? Thirty seems to be a magic number around here, after which players supposedly invariably decline into anonymity. Every player is different. Yes, older players are more likely to decline. But you have to look at things other than age, too–like injury history, body type, athleticism, position, etc. Not to mention, older players aren’t the only ones who can decline–look at Rizzo and Castro this past season. And yes they’re more likely to bounce back, but older players have bounced back, too. I’m not saying SIGN ALL THE OLD PLAYERS! I’m just saying don’t discount them entirely purely based on age.

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                Yeah, it pays to be a bit more inclusive in arguments than, “he’s over 30! Don’t sign him!” or trade for them because it is not in our window…

                Window to what…HELL! Waiting on the come…like Linus in the pumpkin patch! (Just be patient for A-AA players to become all stars…)

                [img]http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110310015449/peanuts/images/5/53/220px-GreatPumpkin-1-.jpg[/img]

                • ssckelley

                  I have not seen anybody here say not to sign a player just because he is over 30. The arguments here have been against signing those players to long term deals worth a crap load of money. I don’t think this FO wants to be paying 20-25 million per year for a 36-38 year old veteran. I think this FO would take guys like Choo and Ellsbury in a heartbeat if they would agree to a 3 or 4 year contract.

                  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                    The tenor of the comments are, well “he’s 30.” We can’t have the perfect ballplayer. They don’t exist accept in the fantasy world MOST fans inhabit.
                    Their are acceptable risks – based on knowledge, and insight.

                    Zobrist is on a 7M-7.5M deal. Tampa has to pony up to keep Price…15-18-20M and also field a team. So if you offer them a reasonable trade, we are not hurting so bad not to be able to handle a 15M/2yr deal. Whom we would send is a different conversation.

                    And, The FO just paid Scott BAKER 5M to do what exactly?

                    So that risk was acceptable, and did not turn out.

                    So, are we too scared to pull the trigger because they want 5 years, or will turn 35?

                    It is the shortsighted argument to say, 35 and no further. Yes, 30+ players decline – and 22 year olds wash out also.

                    • Funn Dave

                      This.

                • Professor Snarks

                  “Window to what…HELL! Waiting on the come…like Linus in the pumpkin patch! (Just be patient for A-AA players to become all stars…)”

                  Jason, if you have a problem with the strategy you mentioned in your parenthetical, you better call Theo. It seems that IS his plan.

                  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                    I’ve personally written to Jed Hoyer (politely) about an idea. I applied for a job with the Chicago Cubs.
                    \
                    Is that ballsy enough for you? Or is Theo your monotheistic God?

                    I have nothing against “plans” but when guys like you are snarky enough, I find it fun to take you to task on your 2015/2016 will be competitive crap.

                    Again, where is 2014? You play the seasons sequentially, don’t you? Or maybe it will be 1984 all over again for the 2014 Cubs???

                    I can dream, can’t I?

                    • Professor Snarks

                      Yea for you. How did your interview go?

                      Anyway, if you feel I am so wrong for believing 2014 is NOT the start to the Cubs competitive window, explain to me how I am wrong..

                      Tell me what needs to happen for the Cubs to be competitive in 2014. (I read your blog and I don’t see any of your trade/FA signing happening)

                    • Turn Two

                      Haha, why do i feel like I’m listening to an argument between two second graders.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      Well I see we have an ad hominem going forward from here.

                      Glad you read.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      I didn’t make it out 1st grade…

                      Because “The Professor” was quite a daunting fellow conceiving all sorts of malaise until 2015 (or 2016) when it was foretold that Sir Jorge Soler would come riding in on his trusty steed to save the season from the evil Dragon of Lose.

                      And Sir Bryant would pound the dragon to a bittersweet Waveland Avenue. And Sir Baez would scoop up grounders and steal the bases galore, while pounding those Cardinal ogres-pitchers into oblivion.

                      Yeah, though those knightly men would see the light, a trouble dawn laid ahead for King Rizzo and his Archduke Castro. As the crown sat wobbly on their once secure head.

                      “Oh, my kingdom for a ACE pitcher!” cried Rizzo. And Castro, “oh, my possessions for a bat that has not holes in it!” And so the fable went.

                      The Mighty Cubs of 2015 (or 2016) were doomed to repeat the Ode to Seasons past.

                      The End.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            [img]http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs/wd_all_2013_2009_25_0_10_25_2013.png[/img]

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              Trying to show the top WAR generators —since 2009.
              Cabrera (34), Cano (31), Longoria (31), and ZOBRIST (31)!

              • Professor Snarks

                I guess I better start caring about WAR then.

                Oh, and yes, 2nd baseman start to decline around 34/35, and that would be about the time time, if everything else works out to the plan, that we would start to be competitive. That’s 2015/2016.

                Is he worth one of our top pitching prospects? Plus one of our top outfield prospects? For a placeholder?

                • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                  Well…good, you have your windowed plan. I have mine.

                  I guess 2016 we’ll hang a pennant! Or is it 2017? Or 2018?
                  Keep moving those goal posts, eventually they get pretty far away.

                  • Professor Snarks

                    Moving the goal; posts? Can you show me one comment I have made where I had the competitive window closer? I think you just misused that tired cliche.

                    If you look at things realistically, it’s hard to make a case for playoff contention before 2016. The key word is contention. I said nothing about hanging a pennant.

                    2015 could be fun to watch, being Baez and Bryant’s first full year and all, but it hard to imagine a team being carried to the playoffs by 4 hitters under 25. Especially a team with unproven or questionable starting pitching.

                    • Funn Dave

                      Theo laid out a three-year plan when he took over. 2014 is the third year. So yes, 2015 or 2016 would be pushing back the goalposts. And realistically nobody’s still saying we’ll contend next year, but we should at least look respectable in the second half of the season, assuming we don’t trade away all our talent before then.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      “If you look at things realistically”

                      No shit. Because I can’t look at things realistically, but you can, Professor?

                      So I should just wait. Boy, that’s another refreshing insight in Cubs land. Wait until….next year. Another tired cliche. (i’ll ignore your English lecture above, professor snarks.)

                      While I presented statistical and numerical validation (a presently great WAR performer at an efficient market price of 7M, where 4.5M is approx. 1WAR) you’ve presented your tired declining argument without a substantial measure of his said decline rate as validated by actual numbers. So that’s tiring…too.

                      So we should only build with 2016 in mine? Or Not 2016?…Cause Baez and Bryant will storm the castle by 2015. Or 2016? That’s another tired argument. Baez and Bryant are still potential. No telling if they reach your expectations, or MINE.

                      I know the Cubs plan, but I can take either side of that argument.

                      It is possible to build for a 2014 above .500 team, but it means you have to add assets that can bring something other than losing to Chicago Cubs.

                      “2015 could be fun to watch.”

                      That’s funny. What happen to 2014? Did it disappear from the march of time. Did the Mayans take that year? Or miss it by 2 years?

                      Please, Professor, look it that crystal ball you have, and elucidate what Almora, Bryant, Soler, Baez, and Johnson, will all be doing?

                      Leave it to a professor to not take any ACTION but the WAIT and SEE. (You are a quadrant 2 if ever there was one.)

                • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                  He played shortstop this year too. And can/has been a corner OF.

                  So, Professor, IF you are so confident that Soler is gonna be a monster, then he should make a big impact in what — 2015 or 2016? Please tell me when to start believing in the plan – the 5 year plan of destined success you are operating from???

                  • Professor Snarks

                    Did I say Soler was going to be a monster? No. I said he is one of our top outfield prospects. (look at any top 100 prospect list, and after Almora, Soler is the ONLY other Cub outfielder mentioned.).

                    I think you get more for a top 30 prospect than a 33 year old player, especially if all that player does is give you three wins more than your current 2nd baseman.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      But Soler is too much of an include for Zobrist.

                      A proven 2-time ALL STAR versus an A+ baller with 380 ABs in two years who hasn’t put up enormous minor numbers: 300+ BA, 400OBP+.

                      Zobrist did in the minors, granted a bit older.
                      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=zobris001ben

                      I know the prospect lists – yeah! We’ve had top prospects before listed….Vitters, Jackson. How’s that working right now? (Jackson: Pre-2012: Rated #32 Prospect by BA.)

                      My opinion of Soler is much lower than others…
                      he could prove me wrong. I want that.

                      Zobrist: not just a 2B. He played RF and SS also. Wow even above avg at SS.

                      And in 2013: Zobrist was a between 4.5 and 5 wins better than Barney (depending on BR or Fangraphs).
                      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/barneda01.shtml
                      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/z/zobribe01.shtml

                      So there again, you underestimate his worth.

                  • Professor Snarks

                    Here is my gut feeling on how the next few years play out.

                    2014- Pretty much the same as 2013. 70-75 win team if everything breaks right. The highlight of the year will be debuts of Baez and Bryant. Hopefully Rizzo and Castro rebound. Pitching is a huge question mark.

                    2015-Possible 81 win team. How good are Rizzo/Castro coming into their prime years? How good are Baez/Bryant in their first full seasons? Are Soler and Almora ready for their debuts? Who are the pitchers? Jackson…sure. Wood..probably…Shark….unlikely…Arrieta, Johnson, CJ Edwards? Who knows.

                    2016-17 Core hitters getting comfortable, possible elite offense. Possible, statistically unlikely, considering 4 of them are under 26. (Theo has said that a player doesn’t reach his prime until 26/27, and Theo is always right). I have no idea who is on the pitching staff, but I’ll trust the FO to get us good pitchers when needed. Depending on the pitching staff, could compete for a wildcard, or, if the Cardinals implode, possibly the division.

                    Now, please, tell me how you see the competitive window happening sooner.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      Wow, you really lectured me, Professor.

                      For you info, I have taken the opposite side of the wait and see attitude posed around here by you, and others, the last two days, ON PURPOSE.

                      I get tired of “the wait on prospects until 2015-16″ discussion. You can win 90+ games by 2015. You might make the playoffs, AND the future will not be damaged. There is always a way.

                      That takes business and statical acumen, and luck, but it can be done.

                      This FO can do it.

                      I could do it too.

                      But you are funny. Nice chat.

                    • Funn Dave

                      The Cubs sign one big-name free agent–say Tanka or Choo–this offseason. They’re still a fairly weak team during the first half of the season. At the trade deadline, they trade for talent instead of trading it away (don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly happy with the way the last two trade deadlines played out, but it has to stop sometime). If it doesn’t look like Shark’s getting extended, he gets traded. Bryant and Baez get called up and perform as expected. Rizzo and Castro both improve under new coaching. One or two young pitchers get called up and actually performs well. Vizcaino starts to become relevant. The Cubs leave 2014 a respectable team, add some talent in the offseason, and are competetive in 2015.

                      I’m not saying that everything will play out this way, or even that it’s likely. Just that there definitely are scenarious in which we become competitive before 2017. And keep in mind that if we do acquire more talent through trades, it will probably come at the cost of some prospects, which would likely narrow our competetive window. Although I’m not sure we should even be talking about windows if our goal is sustained success. To me, it’s important to always keep a balance between maintaining the farm and maintiaing the MLB club. The last couple years have focused pretty narrowly on the farm, making it one of the best in baseball, so we can now spend our money a bit more evenly between the MLB and MiLB.

  • Dustin S

    I think it’s a bit of a reach that the Lincecum contract points to a new normal for contracts. He’s one of the most recognizable and popular names in MLB, did have some amazing years, and SF definitely overpaid hoping he will return to the glory years. So I wouldn’t assume 17.5M a year is now what anyone with a 4.25 ERA will earn. Contracts will continue to climb for sure, but not to that degree. In his case the timing was just bad with it being early in the offseason and with it being such a huge (likely) overpay.

  • Alex

    Soler just went YARD!!

    • ssckelley

      Nice! He must of heard all the complaints. I see Bryant has hit 2 more doubles today as well and, omg, Almora took a walk.

  • http://www.rotochamp.com RotoChamp

    Soler takes his first BB of the AFL….and hits his first HR. Starting to heat up……

    • Eric

      Nah, he’s a bust. Just ask Kyle.

      • Kyle

        OK, ask me.

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          Read the fun above.

          Soler….yeah!

  • http://www.rotochamp.com RotoChamp

    Bryant with 2 Ks today, but still manages 2 doubles and a triple.

  • http://www.rotochamp.com RotoChamp

    And Soler is now batting .302

  • Funn Dave

    Guess we’re just ignoring all those warnings not to take AFL #s too seriously, huh?

    I kid, I kid.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    look, the only sensible play is to put a star name manager or player in 2014to put fans in the stands

  • Matt

    Kyle, you hit the nail on head with the ” paying for past performance ” platitude. I’m gonna toss a drink at the next slightly above replacement level fan who lobs that one out there in a conversation about free agency.

    We had a similar conversation about 2nd rders on another board. If you like a player, losing a 2nd rder shouldn’t be a deterrent-plain& simple. A team like the Cubs -with their enormous depth- REALLY shouldn’t care. At this point , this team needs more B- minor-league talent like they need a hole in the head. They need whatever that #4 pick has to offer, they need to make at least 1 significant move in FA to get things going in right direction & estabilish credibility for future FAs, and make sure they don’t screw up a Shark trade , if that happens. Flipping has served its purpose, next phase please.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      This works for me. Good post.

    • Kyle

      I like you

    • The Dude

      Completely agree with this. If we can’t be competitive now, then when? The mindset of leaving all this major league roster flexibility with the hopes that prospects will come up and save the day is a road to disappointment. Compete in Chicago and let everything else play out.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Ellsbury is going to get paid at least $120M. Choo is going to get $100M. I don’t want either for the pricetag.

  • Matt

    Have any of you looked at FA list for next yr????

    • Blackhawks1963

      Why? It’s irrelevant. Chances are a lot of those guys sign new contracts before they even would hit free agency.

      • Matt

        My point was the class is brutal and will only get worse through extensions…

    • cub2014

      next years FA are weak, we better strike now

      • Turn Two

        Things change, if we have money, we will have options. Been the same…forever.

  • cub2014

    unless we really expect our outfield to be:
    lake sweeney soler almora and bryant in
    2015?

    • MNeuman

      Does anyone know if Lake is playing in any winter leagues?

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      But it will!
      2015 FA
      Left fielders
      Melky Cabrera (30) – plausibly w/PED.

      Chris Denorfia (34) – if we sign Saltalamacchia , and jump on Daisuke Matsuzaka, we can have a few more multi-syllable names will be GOOD on that front.

      Brett Gardner (31) – speed, defense, but OH, 31~!!!!
      Jonny Gomes (34) – shows up in the playoffs.
      Tony Gwynn Jr. (32) – take his father, probably right now.,
      Scott Hairston (35) – Been there, done that.
      Ryan Ludwick (36) – $9MM mutual option with a $4.5MM buyout – old.
      Seth Smith (32) – eh, plausible. Liked his power (.456) in COLORADO – but Oakland could resign.
      Alfonso Soriano (39) – don’t we still owe him money???
      Vernon Wells (36) – The Angels will be paying on that in 2014.
      Josh Willingham (36) – old and decline after a rebound 2012.

      Center fielders
      Emilio Bonifacio (30) – versatile. utility.
      Tony Gwynn Jr. (32)
      Colby Rasmus (28) – EVERYONE will be hitting this…he’ll get paid. inconsistent.
      Denard Span (31) – $9MM club option with a $500K – another resign, else he did use to get on base around 37% of the time. Not recently though…contract year!

      Right fielders
      Norichika Aoki (33) – nope.
      Michael Cuddyer (36) – 1B now.
      Chris Denorfia (34)
      Scott Hairston (35)
      Torii Hunter (39)
      Nick Markakis (31) – $17.5MM mutual option; $2MM buyout if club declines.
      Possible he moves on…But that’s not a given.

      Alex Rios (34) – $13.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout – not much for OBP. Will pop sometimes.
      Nate Schierholtz (31) – reup?
      Ichiro Suzuki (41) – retired?

      So you got Nick Markakis (31), Colby Rasmus (28), Brent Gardner(31) ,Melky Cabrera (30), Denard Span(31) and Seth Smith(32) to debate over after 2014 is done, assuming Bryant, Almora, or Soler aren’t pounding balls on Waveland while in the OF for 2015.

      • Hawkeye

        The 2014 free agent class is brutal, one of the many reason why I think it’s imperative to add a significant piece this year via free agency. One thing I’ve been reading a lot on here lately is the “I don’t care if we sign players over the age of 30, I just don’t think we should give them a lot of years or money”. This is usually followed up by “I’ll take ellsbury at 4 yrs 30 million.” The contracts that some on this board would find acceptable is laughable. Market value has shown, especially of late, that to acquire quality free agent talent you have to spend. I still can’t understand why so many are all for not spending on this major league team as if the salaries are coming directly out of there Personal IRA.

        • Kramden

          I also find it laughable how so many of the armchair quarterbacks on this board pontificate about the contract value of this player or that and how this is reasonable but that isn’t and why this team should spend this because they can afford it but that team shouldn’t because they have too many other responsibilities or not enough revenue to justify the signing.

          I never could figure out why they care so much since its not their money and I never saw a major market team file for bankruptcy or gear things back the way the Cubs have.

          I also agree that this years FA class is brutal but that’s reason enough not to pursue any of them.

          • Drew7

            Officially the longest sentence in the history of this site.

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